The Let’s Do It movement is inherently grassroots and requires a massive volunteer effort. Since I publicly floated the idea on Thursday, the response has been positive, with support from the director of the SF Neighborhood Empowerment Network, line-level SF city employees, Craig Newmark, and, very importantly, Ben Berkowitz of SeeClickFix (a Web, phone and mobile app that allows citizens to track and report blight and municipal infrastructure issues), just to name a few. Ben and his co-founders are going to be in town in mid-April, and it makes sense to have an initial volunteer team meeting at that time.
The volunteers who kicked of Let’s Do It in Estonia started with a team of 20 that grew to more than 600, with 40,000 taking part in the culminating day of action. My first goal is to have at least 20 of us at an initial meeting mid-month.
To clean graffiti, we’re looking at a couple big issues. Some of the worst of it is on state-owned and private property. That means getting permissions from the property owners to remove it. And we’ll need ladders, not just paint and paint supplies. I think the permission part is pretty easily dealt with as we create an opt-in for property owners, who will greatly benefit from this effort (they are legally responsible for removing graffiti on their property). We need muralists on board for hot spots, a trash transport plan, and, as we pick up steam, there may be opportunity to address other blight as well.
There already are commercial paint matching apps, and we’ll want to work to tie them into the mapping system as well as seek partnerships with paint companies that can provide mobile paint matching services for the day of action.
Alissa has pointed out that we can tap SF’s 311 system to identify outstanding complaints before the day of action (thinking about at September or October for the date).
To get more insight on what we’re diving into, check out the Let’s Do it World action manual. What we are doing here will not only dramatically improve blight in San Francisco and show the power of collective civic action, it is also critical infrastructure building in one of the world’s most earthquake-prone regions.
The technologies for pulling this off have only advanced since 2008 and Estonia. Let’s do it!
~ Adriel Hampton